Lingering tension between Essendon’s football boss Josh Mahoney and recruitment guru Adrian Dodoro remains behind the scenes in what’s been a disappointing season for the club.
That’s the view of leading AFL columnist Caroline Wilson, who says “there will be changes” at the club next season after an internal review that has taken place in previous months.
Wilson believes senior coach Ben Rutten, who has a year to run on his current deal, will remain at the helm, but is likely to see a host of changes around him take place.
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“I’m told there are still real problems there,” Wilson told Nine’s Footy Classified of the situation at Essendon.
Essendon’s list manager Adrian Dodoro and football boss Josh Mahoney aren’t exactly seeing eye to eye (Getty)
“We know that (CEO) Xavier Campbell is still under the pump. I gather there has been, not a fallout, but genuine tension between Adrian Dodoro, long-time recruiter, and the head of footy in Josh Mahoney, which is disappointing.
“I’m not sure where Blake Caracella is going to be next year. He has a rock-solid contract but he will definitely be in a different role next year if he’s there.”
Wilson’s reported was supported by Essendon great Matthew Lloyd, who said he expected the club would “bolster and support Ben Rutten with another coach”.
Despite club CEO Xavier Campbell having recently inked a new deal that’ll see him remain at the club through 2024, Wilson said the executive was under pressure due to a “woeful” performance of late.
“Essendon needs to have a good year next year,” she said.
Essendon is expected to bring in a senior coaching figure to help Ben Rutten next season (Getty)
“I know he’s just signed a new contract … I just think his performance as CEO, particularly where the footy has been concerned has been pretty woeful, the decisions haven’t worked out for him.”
News of off-field discontent comes amid reports that skipper Dyson Heppell could leave the club for the Gold Coast.
“My understanding is this mooted four-year offer from the Gold Coast which involved two years playing and two years coaching was certainly talked about at the executive level at the Gold Coast,” Wilson said of the Suns’ links to Heppell.
“An offer was never made and sitting here tonight, I don’t reckon it will be.”
Lloyd suggested Heppell would wind up remaining at Essendon, which is believed to have offered him a one-year deal, but admitted the skipper was in a tough spot.
“It’s always tough. I think he’s going through what Buddy Franklin is on a lesser scale,” he said.
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“You get to an age where you’re probably not as valuable to your club in terms of on-field (performance). He was halfback, he struggled, moved to a wing and he’s been a little bit better, but you’re not probably as valuable to the team in terms of other players going past you.
“That’s where he is of value, he’s just been an unbelievable leader. He’s a star person. It looks like it’s going to work out for him at Essendon.”
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